More so than usual, that is.
Anyway, some two-days-after reaction to the latest episode, after the break.
-This right here is why I find Fluttershy to be the least interesting of the main six. Because one of her defining characteristics is her soft-spoken-ness, the show's writers have to take her completely out of character when they want to make her a focal figure. Offhand, the only episodes I can remember where Fluttershy plays a major role and isn't forced to act completely against type at some point are the pilot and May the Best Pet Win--and even those both mined some humor out of Fluttershy having an unexpectedly dramatic reaction to this or that.
Reaction to this episode on the forums I checked seems to be pretty positive. I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise, since Fluttershy's probably the most popular character in the fan community. But personally, this was one of my least favorite episodes to date. Definitely in my bottom five, at any rate.
-On the other hand, the wide variety of shoutouts in this episode were excellent. Winks to the fandom included Lyra and Bon-bon sitting together in the background, Bon-bon with a lyre clasp on her saddlebags, and Derpy in the background (complete with derped eyes in one scene--apparently they haven't changed her permanently) with a muffin clasp. These are exactly the level of fandom reference I'm comfortable with; something the fans can pick out and enjoy, but which doesn't distract from the episode itself.
In other reference news, there was some stuff I didn't care about (and probably a lot more I didn't pick up on. The Hulk? Meh), but two things stood out: Iron Will's Mr. T impersonation, and the ersatz version of Eye of the Tiger that played when he made his first appearance. As a fanatical fan of the Rocky movies (it's just a shame they never made any more after Rocky IV... and anyone who says they did is lying), both of those made me extremely happy.
-Speaking of Iron Will: what is a minotaur, anyway? A creature with the head and lower body of a bull, and the torso and arms of a... of an ape? In a world without humans, what's he supposed to be a cross of?
-Between the fireworks, the third-person speech patterns, and the audience participation element, it seems to me that Iron Will and Trixie must have gone to the same school of showcreaturesship.
-Okay, one last thing about the
Then, he dropped by her house to collect his bill after she failed to pay up in a timely manner. He wasn't particularly rude, and his request certainly wasn't unreasonable. He just showed up and demanded his money. And when Fluttershy told him she wasn't satisfied with the course, he left! He didn't argue about it, didn't try to browbeat her, nothing! He just asked if she was sure, and when she said she was, he acknowledged her dissatisfaction and departed!
Frankly, Iron Will seems like a pretty decent guy, and the way he got treated like some brutish villain annoyed me.
-After seeing what we have of cows, donkeys, mules, and sheep, I was assuming that all ungulates in Equestria were at or near pony-level intelligence. But the goats... I'm not so sure about the goats. Maybe they just can't speak English because their vocal chords can't mimic pony speech? They can't be too stupid, or Iron wouldn't trust them to run his electronics (side note: are the microphones and spotlights magic-powered? Can goats and/or minotaurs use magic, or do they have to buy their stuff from friendly unicorns? I have so many questions!).
-The way Fluttershy treats Angel Bunny prior to the end of the episode would have been hilarious if I didn't know so many children who get away with as much or more with their parents. Instead, it just made me sad.
-This episode had some terrible voices for the background/one-shot ponies. My previously-stated theory that Ponyville is in the midst of a tuberculosis epidemic is gaining steam--it's only a matter of time before mass graves and citywide quarantine are canon. Just you wait.